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Alderman to set date for vote

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Referendum would take place April 9

Ruston’s Board of Aldermen is expected to officially set a date Monday for the citywide referendum on Mayor Ronny Walker’s tax-based Moving Ruston Forward proposal.

If all goes according to plan, the referendum will be April 9.

Calling the election is the top item on the board’s agenda for its 5:30 p.m. meeting at City Hall. The meeting is open to the public.

Aldermen will also decide on a number of routine items including annual cooperative agreements with Louisiana Farm Fresh, operators of the Ruston Farmers Market; the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, producer of the Louisiana Peach Festival; LTP Medical, operators of the Health Hut; the Boys and Girls Club of North Central Louisiana; Lincoln Total Community Action, for the Head Start program; and Lincoln Parish Fire Protection District No. 1.

Additionally, the board will consider authoring approximately $42,000 in repairs to the Mayfield Park dam. The structure has been leaking for several years.

As to Moving Ruston Forward, Walker said the $80 million package of improvements is needed both for the city to catch up to where it should be now and to set it in good stead for the future.

The plan of street, drainage, water and sewer projects, plus a new animal control facility, bike trails and sidewalks and a sports complex would be partially funded by a new three-quarter-cent city sales tax.

The dedicated 20-year tax will generate an estimated $4.2 million annually.

Moving Ruston Forward encompasses both projects that have been on the city’s capital improvements list for as long as 10 years and new ones.

The proposal is being well-received, Walker said.

“We haven’t heard any opposition from anyone,” he said Friday.

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Town meetings set for Moving Ruston Forward

Residents can learn more about the Moving Ruston Forward proposal at any of a series of upcoming town hall meetings.

Here’s the schedule: Tuesday, 6 p.m., Christ Temple Church; Feb. 16, 6:30 p.m. Barnette Springs Baptist Church; Feb. 18, 6:30 p.m., First Baptist Church; Feb. 22, 6 p.m., Miracle Temple Church; Feb. 29, 6 p.m., Zion Travelers Baptist Church; March 2, 7 p.m., New Living Word; and March 8, The Bridge.

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